The Wine Century Club | Catavino
There are a lot of wine websites on the interwebs. There is no better regional wine website when it comes to depth and breadth of content and expertise.
Lenn Thompson

The Wine Century Club

So computer problems again have got me down! Anyone have a spare? Actually, it was the internet that was down, but now it’s up and I’m back again. While I finish up a couple of articles, one hopefully on the Spanish DO system, I wanted to point out this great site:
The Wine Century Club. What this site sets out to do is to get more people to try grapes outside of the Cab/Merlot/Chard – and thanks to Sideways Pinot, paradigm! By offering “certification”, verifying that you have tried 100 different varietals (grapes), they hope people will seek out those grapes that we don’t always think of when we ponder wine.

The reason I mention this here is that Spain and Portugal are great places to start if your interested in getting yourself a certificate. All you need to do to recieve membership in The Wine Century Club is to try 100 different varietals. They can be single varietal wines or wines that are blended from various different grapes. In Spain and Portugal there are tons of varietals that you may never have known exisisted and thus is a good place to look for “unknown” grapes. For example:

Mencia] – A grape grown in the Bierzo region of North Western Spain. Can produce big wines with intense fruit flavors and nice spice charecteristics.
Godello – A white grape that is grown throughout Spain though particullary in Galicia and at it’s best gives a fresh high acid wine with green apple flavors.
Graciano – A red grape used throughout Rioja and Navarra to give the wines of those regions more tannin and body. Though recently I’ve tried some interesting single varietal versions. It tends to be very tannic when young and has a nose and flavor profile that is rich and prolonged.
Tinta Negramole – Unique to the Island of Madiera in Portugal is is the grape that makes Madiera what it is today. High yeilds and a penchant for early oxidization it helped the Madeira producers recover after phylloxera hit the island. In Spain it produces interesting table wine on the Canary Islands.
Touriga Nacional – Two grapes that play very important roles in the production of Port wine. In fact the best part of going for this certificate is the fact that blends count!(though it would be fun to try without using blends) So when you drink a Port wine, most likely you at the very least are adding 5 new varietals to your list.

There’s a small start to what you have to look forward to when exploring Spanish and Portuguese wines. I mean very small. It seems that every region here in Spain and over in Portugal has at least one native variety that I have rarely heard of. The best part too is the fact that you can always have a chance to try something new. Sometimes they are different but delicious and sometimes downright had to get used to, but in the end it’s fun to see what else is out there.

So I encourage you all to download the PDF file they have over at The Wine Century club, and dive in. See if you can become a member!

Till soon, Ryan